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Pioneers start fast, overpower Falcons

Joe Avento • Sep 1, 2018 at 2:00 AM

JONESBOROUGH — It took one play for David Crockett’s football team to make a statement Friday night. These aren’t your grandfather’s Pioneers.

Cade Larkins hit John Kollie on a 50-yard touchdown pass on the first play, and Crockett never slowed down in a 55-0 victory over Volunteer.

It was the first of four first-quarter touchdown passes for Larkins.

“We’ve been planning that play all week,” he said of the opening salvo. “It was something we saw on film and we were ready for it.”

Larkins threw for 296 yards on 14-of-20 passing.

“I usually sleep on the first play on Tuesday night, and if I wake up Wednesday and still like it, we run it,” Crockett coach Hayden Chandley said. “I asked him if he wanted to take a shot on the first play and he said, ‘Let’s do it, Coach.’ And it ended up working out. It got us going right there from the jump.”


Donta Hackler caught touchdown passes of 10 and 42 yards and Prince Kollie had a TD catch and returned a punt 62 yards for a score for Crockett (3-0, 1-0).

Micah Robinson added a short touchdown run after catching a long pass, and his interception set up the Pioneers’ next score, an 11-yard run by Ronquille Joyner.

It was 27-0 after one quarter and 48-0 by halftime, so the clock ran continuously in the third and fourth quarters.

After a scoreless third quarter, Joyner scored from 18 yards out early in the fourth for a 55-0 lead. He was on his way for a score on the previous play before fumbling into the end zone. A teammate recovered for an apparent touchdown, but the play was called back because of a holding penalty.


The Falcons (1-2, 0-1) scored 79 points in their first two games but were overwhelmed by the Pioneers.

“That’s a good football team,” Volunteer coach Justin Pressley said. “They’ve got a lot of really good athletes. They hit us early. We got in a hole real quick and we couldn’t fight our way back out of it. We couldn’t find our rhythm on offense and we couldn’t match them on defense.”


The Pioneers held the Falcons to 88 total yards, 26 in the first half. They’ve allowed only 14 points in three games.

“Our kids just play hard,” said Chandley, whose team had 496 yards of total offense. “I love our kids to death. Our defense, we pride ourselves on playing hard and flying to the football. It’s a credit to our kids.”


Crockett had to punt once late in the first half and after a bad kick, Volunteer seemed poised to get on the board.

But fourth down has been kind to the Pioneers — they had five stops in six tries the previous week — and John Kollie blitzed on fourth down and sacked Volunteer quarterback Eli Dorton to end the threat.

Later, with the Falcons facing fourth-and-11 in the third quarter at the Crockett 16, the Pioneers sacked Dorton again.


Gibbs visits Jonesborough next week to take on Crockett. Volunteer is at Sullivan East.